COVINGTON - Next week, Newton County high school students will take a practice test that will prepare them for a future test that could determine which college they attend.
On Wednesday, some sophomores and juniors will take the PSAT at their high schools.
"Similar to the SAT, the PSAT is an aptitude test," said Carl Skinner, director of Testing, Research and Evaluation at the Newton County School System. "This type of test does more than just recall basic facts. The PSAT makes the student examine questions in a manner that measures academic potential. It does not measure what the student already knows, as an achievement test would."
He said it could help students predict their performance on the SAT and in Advanced Placement courses and also provide feedback on strengths and weaknesses of certain knowledge needed to be successful in college.
Skinner advised that students should take this test seriously and do their personal best.
"Students should speak with counselors and teachers to help prepare for this test," he said. "The counselors have many preparation resources, while the teachers can help with academic weaknesses."
The counselors also will help them after the test.
"When the results are returned, the counselors meet with the students in groups to discuss how to interpret the scores and provide guidance," he said. "The PLAN is the pre-ACT and although Newton County no longer administers this test, the results from the PSAT can infer that the ACT rather than the SAT may be a better test for the student."
When they receive their score report, it also provides them with a comprehensive skills analysis of their performance. They also will receive a code that provides access to a Web site that provides more information about career and college planning.
Juniors who take the PSAT also are eligible to be considered for the National Merit Scholarships, depending on their scores, which change each year.
Practice tests and other testing information are available on the SAT's Web site, www.collegeboard.com.
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.